My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes


Although Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I don’t have a hard and fast menu for what I think makes the perfect celebration. I mean, there was the year we ate Elvis sandwiches, and the year we just got take-out from a local restaurant, and the year we marked the occasion by having my thyroid removed.

And even though I love to try new recipes, when I cook Thanksgiving at home, I almost always make my old favorites — dishes that I’ve been eating since I realized that I love Thanksgiving. They’re mostly recipes that I learned from my mom and have revised to be compliant with my new eating habits.

This year, we’re eating at home, and it’s just Dave, Smudge, and me. Our menu features roast duck instead of turkey, and the day’s activities include a viewing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in our pajamas, followed by the National Dog Show, then a walk around the lake. (Fingers crossed that we get lucky with fall weather. I think I will cry if the temps are in the 80s.) We’re eating dinner mid-afternoon so we can catch a movie: The Book Thief! And after that, we’re heading back home for Thanksgiving Dinner, Part 2 (leftovers are always the best part!) and the Steelers vs. the Ravens. (Go, Ravens!)

Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. They’re all paleo-friendly, and I’ve indicated which ones are Whole30 approved. I hope they help make your holiday a little tastier! (Astute readers will notice that I didn’t cover turkey in this list. The sides are really my strong suit, so if you want ideas for roasting a gobbler, you might try this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo.)


greekolivesSpiced Olives – Whole30 approved

spicednutsSpiced Nuts – Whole30 approved when you omit the sugar

nye_snackSavory Paleo Granola (from Well Fed 2) – Whole30 approved

pearandbaconbitesPear and Bacon Bites (from Well Fed 2) – Whole30 approved


bacon_soupSweet Potato Soup with Bacon (from Well Fed 2) – Whole30 approved

goldencauliflowersoupGolden Cauliflower Soup (from Well Fed 2) – Whole30 approved


Veggie Sides

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACumin Roasted Carrots (from Well Fed) – Whole30 approved

balsamic_grilled_butternut-1 2Balsamic-Grilled Butternut (from Well Fed 2) – Whole30 approved

Coconut-AlmondGreenBeans1-e1331749320484Coconut Almond Green Beans (from Well Fed) – Whole30 approved


Sweet Sides

cranberrywaldorfCranberry Waldorf Salad– Whole30 approved

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVelvety Butternut Squash – Whole30 approved



cakeGrain-Free Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake with Maple-Vanilla Frosting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASweet and Salty Fudge Bombs

applecake1Old-Fashioned (Grain-Free) Apple Cake


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  • Lydia says:

    Holy crap STARVING NOW.

  • Julie says:

    Thank you for posting these. I am starting my first Whole30 on Monday and need ideas for Thanksgiving.

    • Mel says:

      Happy Whole30-ing! Thanksgiving is REALLY easy to Whole30. Have fun!

      I revised this post to indicate which recipes are Whole30 approved. Enjoy!

  • Grace says:

    These all look great! WF2 came a couple weeks ago but I went on vacation and now have company so I haven’t been able to dive into it yet – I am chomping at the bit! My question is, do you have a good “stuffing” recipe? Not super crazy about the Wheat Belly one… Can’t wait to try the soup, pear and bacon bites and gingerbread in particular. <3

  • Tom R says:

    Thanks, Mel! I’ve made something of yours every Tgiving for the last 3(?). Still undecided on this year’s recipe but I know whatever it is will be good. Hope you guys have a great holiday.

  • De23 says:

    Is there anyway do to the Blasamic-grilled Butternut on the oven/stove? Firing up the grill on top of everything else is a little more than I can tackle Thanksgiving Day.

    Also, I love, love, love your cranberry waldorf salad! I’ve made it the past 2 (3?) years. I don’t dare make it any other time since I tend to eat the whole batch in one day.

    • Mel says:

      Can I just tell you: I am SO EXCITED to make Cranberry Waldorf Salad for Thanksgiving. I only make it for TGiving,and I’m ready for that first tangy bite!

      You can roast the butternut in the oven. It won’t get the grilled taste/texture, but it will still be awesome. I think it will work better in cubes in the oven. Roast at 400F for 25-30 minutes — follow the rest of the instructions above. Enjoy!

      • De23 says:

        Thanks! I will give the cubes in the oven a try. And stick the cranberry salad in the very back of the fridge so I’m not so tempted before dinner.


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